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By Samuel R. Avro on Oct 5, 2010 with 2 responses

Obama Gives the Nod: White House Going Solar

Jimmy Carter inaugurating the new solar installation above the West Wing in 1979.

The Obama administration confirmed Tuesday that two new solar projects will be installed atop the White House in the spring of 2011.

Photovoltaic solar panels along with a solar hot water heater will provide electricity and hot water for use in the White House Residence.

“This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement. “Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

According to the Energy Department, the White House will launch a “competitive procurement process” in order to choose the installation company.

The White House and solar panels have historically been on-again, off-again.

The oil crisis in 1979 spurred  the first usage of solar power on the White House grounds, when Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the West Wing as a symbolic ‘moving away from oil’ gesture. The Carter solar panels were removed in 1986 during the Reagan Administration.

The White House cabana with a solar water heating system which was installed in 2002.

The Bush Administration completed three solar installations in 2002 – albeit without much fanfare.

Solar groups had been putting on a full court press campaigning for just such a move from the Obama administration.

“The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: they listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future,” said Bill McKibben, an activist who drove the Carter solar panel to Washington all the way from Maine last month and requested that the White House  install it on the roof. “If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world.”

The Energy Department noted that the announcement was made on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which called on the Federal Government to lead by example towards a clean energy economy and reduce, measure and report direct and indirect greenhouse gas pollution.

  1. By Kit P on October 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    “The Bush Administration completed three solar installations in 2002 – albeit without much fanfare.”

     

    Aside from Obama lacking leadership on energy issues, Obama needs to avoid the Carter curse of being a clueless idealists unable to handle real problems.  

     

    “This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement. “Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

     

    Does anyone think solar is a factor in the global economy?  All Obama has accomplished is turning Dr. Chu into a sock puppet.  Solar on the White House is a waste of resources.  Have we run out of goverment land in the SW. 

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  2. By dustin on September 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    actions speak louder than words. Its good for Obama to make this statement and put some real substance behind something he believes in. Granted, the solar install will offset merely a fraction of the WH energy usage the message he represents the kind of small steps we need to be taking towards sustainable energy.

    Dustin Flick
    Owner of solarpanelagent.com – solar panel comparison site

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